“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7: 15.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4: 3-4.
I have been a Christian for over 36 years. I was saved in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, UK, in a free evangelical church. I went from there to Leek in Staffordshire, to an old Baptist Union church. I believe that in those formative years as a Christian I received the finest teaching from the word of God that a young Christian could ever receive. I was grounded in the word of God for my first seven years as a Christian. But there was a problem. I did not know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I became very legalistic and sadly I was a hypocrite. I was, as CS Lewis once said, a Sunday angel but a Monday devil. I faced many conflicts in those years as I wanted to serve the Lord with all my heart but I could not. My pastor, who was a very godly man, when he baptised me gave me these verses:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3.
What a wise man. He saw this tramp that came off the street. He brought me to the foot of the cross by using a wonderful little book, John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. He and many others grounded me in the word of God, which has kept me through many years. But sadly as Jesus said, even the elect can be led astray (Mark 13:22). I was led astray. Though my own pride and my besetting sins I lost my first marriage by allowing a man I met to introduce me to the doctrine of demons. During that period of time I was filled with the Holy Ghost through pentecostal Christians who knew the word of God and the power of God. But he devil himself is very subtle and as the word says comes to us an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11: 14). This resulted in my being in the wilderness for approximately seven years. I still loved God, I still loved my Lord Jesus, but my life was a mess. I went to Bible college. I graduated. I pioneered a few churches. But I was led astray by false doctrine. I listened to such teachers as Kenneth Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Morris Cerullo, Joyce Meyer and Creflo Dollar. In short, I became a prosperity preacher. I was part of a large ministry in the West Midlands, but unfortunately, my brothers and sisters, I was chasing after wealth, power, position and adoration from my fellow brothers and sisters. But our Father is so gracious; I did not get what I deserved. It was a time of tremendous growth and in spite of my disobedience and at times complete rebellion God blessed me mightily. I believed at the time that what I was doing was pleasing to God, but sadly it was not.
So I urge you my brothers and sisters to check the word of God, read it for yourself and make up your mind about these megachurches and prosperity preachers, as I have learned that there is only one true gospel and it does not say you or I should be rich or powerful; it does not promise us a new house, cars or lands; it tells us to go and to make disciples of all nations.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20.
The message is to go, preach, teach and make disciples. This is the purpose of the church of Jesus Christ. No matter what denomination or grouping you belong to, go, preach, teach and make disciples of all people.
I believe with what is happening around the world and the fulfilment of much prophetic scripture that the Lord is very close. Most churches today sadly have become entertainment centres and people seem to be spending more time looking after the needs of those inside the church than what Jesus commanded them to do, to go and reach the lost. It is almost as if the leaders in the church have forgotten that the reason we exist is to reach as many as we can and bring them to the foot of the cross. When was the last time you saw anybody saved, healed or filled with the Spirit or your pastor teach on the second coming of Christ, which many of us believe is imminent? The upshot of this is you will not be judged on how many times you went to a church meeting, Bible study, conference or Christian concert; you will be judged on your fruit. So what fruit will you take with you when the trumpet is sounded and Jesus calls us?
Rev Ross Rennie